It sounds easier than it is!
bessie john wedding tent
Credit: Jose Villa

The best thing about planning a tented wedding? You can plant your celebration just about anywhere! "Many of our clients have a special place where they would like to celebrate their wedding, be it a family home or a beautiful vista that speaks to them or a unique locale in which there isn't a structure readily available," explains Bryan Rafanelli, of Rafanelli Events. "A tent is perfect for these circumstances, because it gives them the best of both worlds." That being said, tented weddings tend to be far more complicated to plan than their non-tented counterparts, despite the fact that they seem more low key. To help you prepare for your tented wedding, or decided whether or not you want to have one, we asked wedding planners to share the top things brides and grooms should know before they begin planning.

Choosing the right tent is important.

Believe it or not, there are several different types of tents available. Your location, number of guests, and time of year will help you determine which one is best for you-you might actually need more than one just one! "The main tent is not the only 'tent' that will need to be built. In most cases a kitchen tent is required, restroom trailers need to be brought in, and a tent will need to be erected around them, but sometimes if the wedding has a band and other people working, a staff' tent is required," explains event planner Cristina Verger. Style is also something to be considered, as there are framed tents, striped tents and pole tents. "A pole tent could possibly reduce area where guest tables can be placed and placing the dance floor could be challenging depending on dance floor size," explains Deb Erb, wedding and event planner at Simply Events Inc. "Consider having the sides attached but pulled back to allow a nice air flow."

Everything needs to be brought in.

Unlike at a hotel or celebration hall, a tent only comes with just that-a tent-so everything else, from the lighting fixtures and chairs to the power, water, and climate control needs to be brought into the venue. For this reason, Rafanelli explains that brides and grooms need to carefully plan out their site to ensure everything will have its place. "Many are surprised that they actually end up needing much more space than they initially envisioned," he adds.

Always incorporate some sort of flooring.

"It's amazing what all of the foot traffic will do to a grassy surface. Between your guests and the service staff, even the most lush grass will take quite a beating and be less desirable to move around on," says Rafanelli. He recommends that your flooring be well-matched with your overall design vision for the wedding. "A simple wood floor laid on the grass is perfectly appropriate for a garden-designed tent, just as an inexpensive faux sisal on top of plywood can complement a more formal setting," he adds. "Believe it or not, AstroTurf products have gotten so much better and we are using them more and more in many of the tents we design."

You still need a back-up plan for inclement weather.

Luckily, you can still carry on with your tented wedding plans even if it rains, but you still will need to make preparations. "If it storms, lightning could strike the metal poles of the tent, wind could blow through the tent, and rain could make at least the inside perimeter of the tent wet," says Erb. "If it's chilly, you need to consider renting gas heaters and air conditioners or fans, at the very least if it's hot!"


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